6 April 2020

For the latest on upcoming opportunities and key dates check out our latest Tracker newsletter.

Open MRFF grant opportunities 
The following MRFF grant opportunity is currently open for applications:

  • MRFF 2020 Antiviral Development for COVID-19.

The application due date for this grant opportunity is 14 April 2020.
Further information on MRFF grant opportunities can be found on NHMRC's website

NHMRC is looking for research and industry experts to assess MRFF 2020 Antiviral Development for COVID-19 grant opportunity applications – tell us about your expertise on NHMRCs online portal.

Draft Australian guidelines for the clinical care of people with COVID-19 
The National COVID-19 Clinical Evidence Taskforce (the developer) has released the draft Australian guidelines for the clinical care of people with COVID-19 for ongoing public consultation.

The developer will be seeking NHMRC approval of the guideline under section 14A of the National Health and Medical Research Council Act 1992.

You can access the guideline and provide comment on the MagicApp here (you will need to set up a MagicApp account if you do not have one).

COVID-19: guidance on clinical trials for institutions, HRECs, researchers and sponsors  
This guidance is available on NHMRC’s website. It is a joint statement of all state and territory Departments of Health, the Clinical Trials Project Reference Group (CTPRG), NHMRC and the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).

It provides general information and advice to institutions conducting or overseeing research, Human Research Ethics Committees (HRECs), researchers and sponsors in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is directed towards those involved in clinical trial research and other relevant clinical research, but also may be of use to institutions, HRECs and researchers in other fields.

The Partnership Projects scheme in 2020  
The Partnership Projects scheme will have two Peer Review Cycles (PRC) in 2020.

  • PRC1 opened for applications on 1 April 2020
  • PRC1 minimum data is due 29 July 2020
  • PRC1 closing date is 13 August 2020.

The Partnership Projects 2020 Guidelines and relevant templates are available on GrantConnect. Further details are available on NHMRC's website.

The sector will be informed when the Sapphire application form and the Partnership Projects 2020 Guidelines Appendix F: Guide to Applicants are available.

Partnership Projects 2020 PRC1 funding with other organisations 
In addition to partner organisations identified in the Grant Guidelines (section 4.4), applicants to Partnership Projects 2020 may select the following funding opportunity from the Department of Health.

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) and Obesity Prevention Research special initiative.  This special initiative provides the opportunity for community organisations that are contributing to health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to develop a relationship with a researcher to strengthen the evidence in FASD and obesity research.

Ideas Grants application date extensions 
In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, NHMRC has made changes to the Ideas Grant scheme dates for 2020. The revised dates are as follows:

  • Minimum Data due on Wednesday 13 May 2020. 
  • Round Closes on Wednesday 10 June 2020.

NHMRC has published an RAO alert advising the new dates, and the scheme documentation on GrantConnect has been updated to reflect the changes.

Ideas Grants Minimum data deadline 
Minimum data must be entered in NHMRC’s granting system by the specified due date to allow NHMRC to start identifying suitable peer reviewers. Applications that fail to satisfy this requirement will not be accepted. Applicants must complete the required fields with correct information. Using placeholder text such as “text”, “synopsis” or “xx” etc. is not acceptable as minimum data.

Minimum data fields for Ideas Grants 2020 are indicated in Sapphire by a blue flag.

Failure to meet this deadline will result in the application being removed from the funding round.

RAOs are not required to certify applications for the purpose of minimum data. Applications should only be certified once complete and ready for submission.

2020 Ideas Grants Peer Review Membership 
Membership requirements for Ideas Grants will be reviewed following the minimum data due date and appointments will be confirmed shortly after. NHMRC is conscious of calendar commitments and anticipate that membership will be finalised by the end of June. Please advise NHMRC as soon as possible of any changes to your availability for Ideas Grants peer review.

NHMRC e-ASIA Joint Research Program 2020 – Extension of application period
The closing date for applications to the NHMRC e-ASIA Joint Research Program 2020 Grant Opportunity have been extended to allow research teams additional time to prepare and submit applications.

Minimum data must now be entered into applications by 5pm AEST, 29 April 2020. Completed applications must be submitted via Sapphire by 5pm AEST, 21 May 2020.

Updated call information and supporting documents can be found via the e-ASIA, GrantConnect and NHMRC websites.

Development Grants 2020
The Development Grants Sapphire pilot is continuing, with peer reviewers having now completed declarations for conflicts of interest and peer review suitability. Peer reviewers will be contacted soon with additional information about the next steps for the pilot.

Investigator Grants 2020 Update
Funding recommendations are proceeding through approval processes, with the intent to have Investigator Grant outcomes released (under embargo) prior to the closing of Ideas Grants.

Panel members are reminded of the importance of confidentiality of the peer review process.

NHMRC would like to thank all members for their assistance this year and encourage them to provide feedback on their experience by completing the Investigator Grant Panel Member survey, to be released shortly.

Synergy Grant Scheme – cancelled for 2020
NHMRC has made the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 Synergy Grant round.  This will be very disappointing for many researchers who have worked hard to develop their research plan and build the collaborations underpinning this important scheme. With this in mind, NHMRC would like to encourage all applicants to export application previews from Sapphire before their Synergy Grant application is no longer accessible. This will assist in future application rounds and, if applicable, assist with applying in other NHMRC schemes currently available.

Peer reviewers who had agreed to provide reviews of Synergy Grant applications will be asked to consider instead undertaking review of Ideas Grant applications later in the year.

Applicants will have until COB 16 April 2020 to complete these exports (extended from 6 April 2020 as advised in the RAO alert in case applicants need more time).

If applicants require any assistance with this process please contact your RAO in the first instance. If RAOs require assistance they can email the Research Help Centre at help@nhmrc.gov.au. Unfortunately due to COVID-19 Help Desk staff are operating with reduced staffing and will reply as soon as possible.

Further information on changes to NHMRC 2020 funding schemes is available on the NHMRC website.

Key application dates

Funding Scheme

Open Date

Minimum Data Due

Applications Close

GACD- Cancer Prevention Call




Synergy Grants

2020 Round Cancelled

Clinical Trials and Cohort Studies Grants




Ideas Grants




MRFF 2020 Respiratory Medicine Clinical Trials Research on COVID-19




TCR: End of Life Care




MRFF 2020 Antiviral Development for COVID-19




Special Initiative in Mental Health




2020 Partnership Projects PRC1




Postgraduate Scholarships




*NB schemes are in order of opening dates
** Applications close at 12pm AEST